The San Diego Chargers come home from Foxborough with a bitter taste after suffering a 21-35 defeat to the New England Patriots. However, this week the Bolts will be greeted by the struggling and injury depleted Kansas City Chiefs (0-2). Charger defenders Shaun Phillips and Eric Weddle are licking their chops as they face a mediocre Matt Cassel instead of Hall of Fammer Tom Brady. Here are couple things San Diego needs to do avoid another upset to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Don’t Beat Themselves San Diego clearly has the upper hand in this match-up versus Kansas City, yet can’t afford to make sloppy mistakes. The Chargers have had turnover troubles early on in the 2011 campaign. All-Pro quarterback Philip Rivers has thrown four interceptions compared to only throwing 13 a year ago. Coach Norv Turner was quoted saying, “We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball.” Mike Tolbert coughed up a big fumble in the game against New England that completely switched the momentum. Mistakes like these can easily be capitalized and make the Chargers road to a victory over the Chiefs much tougher than necessary.
Open up the flood GatesAntonio Gates only has eight catches for 74 yards and no touchdowns through the Bolts first two games. Versus New England, Gates was stifled for no catches. Rivers needs to get Gates involved early and often. Gates will be a huge miss-match for the Chiefs. This game may mean a little extra to Gates because many people are starting to speculate whether he has lost a step or not. I believe, he hasn’t. Bill Belichick had a great game plan for Gates and obviously was more willing to let Vincent Jackson go wild. Gates ranks 2nd all time in TD receptions at the tight end position and expect to see him add to that mark this weekend.
Special TeamsCharger fans witnessed a familiar sight to begin their 2011 season, a kick return by the opposing team. San Diego can’t afford to let Kansas City score touchdowns on special teams. Chargers new special teams coach Steve Crosby appeared to fix the problem from week one during week two versus New England. San Diego special teamers will look to control field position, if they do so the Bolts will cruise to a victory over the Chiefs.
DefenseThe Chargers have only forced one turnover heading into their first divisional game. Doing so should be much easier against Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel. Cassel has only thrown one touchdown this season compared to the four interceptions he has also thrown. Look for Eric Weddle and Quentin Jammer to have big games and cause turnovers. The Bolts have had great success in recent match-ups stopping Chiefs wide out Dwayne Bowe, expect his struggles to continue this weekend. A successful game for this unit will be forcing two turnovers or more and holding Kansas City to at most 17 points.
PredictionSan Diego 38-10 win over Kansas City